Attorney Charles Bronitsky is the new Vice Mayor of Foster City! Charles has written an article to remind us all what the holiday season is truly about. His article below may give you ideas on how to make a positive impact in your community this month and all year long.
– Camille Leffall Rogers
With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, we are looking at the holiday season and a brand new year before us. The end-of-year holidays have great significance to most Americans. We celebrate various major religious events and we enjoy the “holiday spirit.” We decorate our homes, we buy gifts for family and friends and we gather together to celebrate with our loved ones. I know that most of us here in Foster City will have a wonderful holiday season.
There are some, however, here in Foster City and in neighboring cities and counties, who are still struggling. Did you know, for example, that 15% of Americans currently live at or below the poverty line? Did you know that about 1 in 7 people need food stamps to subsidize the fact that their income cannot put enough food on their table to feed their families every day? Did you know that minimum wage would have to be more than $12 per hour for a person working full time at minimum wage to be above the poverty level?
I am not talking here about people on welfare, I am talking about families who work but still cannot afford to keep a roof over their head and food in their stomach. I am talking about this because the holiday season is a great time to reach out and help.
Right next door in San Mateo, the Samaritan House runs a program that every day feeds families who, although they work, still cannot afford to feed themselves. The holiday season would be a great time to help feed these folks. You can make a cash donation, a food donation or teach your children about helping during the holiday season by volunteering as a family to help serve food.
Have some slightly used clothes in your closet that you no longer wear? For women, Career Closet runs a program that collects professional women’s clothing so that women looking for work can have work attire to wear to interviews. They are always accepting donations, and now would be a great time to clean out your closet. For men, Project 90, which provides substance abuse programs, collects clothing for men, so they too can have something to wear when they are looking for jobs. For kids, Samaritan House runs a Kid’s Closet and collects clothing for kids to wear to school.
Everybody has some clothes in their closet that they no longer wear. Think about donating those clothes this holiday season. Make it a fun event with your family, sort of like a treasure hunt through everyone’s closet to pick out the clothes to give away and then make it a family trip to the donation site. What a great way this would be to learn as a family that giving is much more rewarding than receiving.
Next time you are in the grocery store, pick up $10 of extra food and bring it to the Second Harvest Food Bank. They feed families right here in San Mateo County. How about the day you are planning to head to the toy store to buy presents for your kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews. Why not pick up an extra toy for $10 or $15 and bring it to the Foster City Fire Station and donate it so every kid in our County gets a holiday present.
Give to your Church, Mosque, Synagogue or wherever you worship. Give to a local school. Our Foster City schools are incredible! This year again each of them had an API score of over 900! Yet all of these schools need to reach out every year because the funds they get from our State are not enough to provide the level of education that they offer to our children. Spend some time at the Senior Center or at a senior living facility. Bring the kids and your pets. Give someone the gift of your time and your willingness to listen. Do whatever you think will help, but please take moment out during this holiday season to do something, to make some difference in the life of someone who is a bit less fortunate than you.
I love the holiday season. People are friendlier, there is lots of family time and the little thinks seem to matter more. I hope to share my joy of the holiday season with as many people as I can and I hope that you will too. Let’s show the world that Foster City is great not just because it is so safe, has such great schools, parks and other amenities. Let’s show them it is great because we do great things. Do something great this holiday season.
Happy Holidays to you all.
Those are my thoughts. You can always share your ideas with me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (650) 286-3504.